8 Types of Jewelry Clasps and How to Use 'Em

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With all the decisions that go into designing a piece of jewelry, it's probably safe to say that choosing a clasp isn't exactly any designer's first priority. But if you choose the wrong type, you'll regret it.

To avoid making any mistakes when it comes to picking the perfect jewelry clasps , it helps to know your options and how each clasp works. You might be surprised how many different kinds there are!

1. Spring Ring Clasp

This is a metal ring with a simple spring mechanism; just pull back on the teeny-tiny lever and the spring compresses, leaving an opening for a jump ring or tab. Release the lever and the clasp closes, locking the chain in place.

Keep in mind that trying to fasten a spring ring clasp on a bracelet, using just one hand, can be annoying — you will definitely need a little extra time and patience if the metal ring is small. But overall it's a very functional clasp and a great choice for most everyday jewelry.

2. Lobster Clasp

This is another type of spring-loaded and self-closing clasp. To open it, push down on the lever with your thumb and the bottom section of the "claw" will swing inward. Releasing the lever closes the clasp.

You can buy lobster clasps in a range of sizes and styles, including a version that allows the clasp portion to rotate 360 degrees without disturbing the jewelry at all. This swivel style is ideal for bracelets and anklets, since they tend to move around a lot when you wear them.

Consider using a lobster clasp for any piece of everyday jewelry that's light or medium weight. Heavier pieces need something a bit sturdier.

3. Barrel Clasp

This clasp is made from two metal pieces that screw together to close and look like (surprise!) a barrel.

The main drawback of a barrel clasp is that it requires two hands to fasten, so it's not a good choice for bracelets unless you have a very agreeable partner who will close it up for you (or if you have three hands). It's also not ideal for anyone who is all thumbs, as it can be a bit tricky to maneuver.

4. Toggle Clasp

One end of a toggle clasp is a long bar or "T" shape; the other is an open shape, most often a circle. The bar simply slips through the open shape and locks in place. More often than not, toggle clasps are designed to add to the style of the piece, such as necklaces where the clasp is strategically placed in front.

These clasps work best with heavier jewelry because the weight can help keep the bar from slipping back out. Be sure when choosing a toggle clasp that the bar locks securely in place.

5. Magnetic Clasp

True to its name, a magnetic clasp is composed of two pieces that contain magnets. These snap together, locking everything in place effortlessly. Some magnetic clasps are small, round and delicate, while others are large and rectangular. Some are even texturized with rhinestones and other embellishments to add to the style of your jewelry.

These clasps are very easy to fasten and work well for all types of jewelry. They're also the best choice for people who have trouble moving tiny levers, springs and other teeny closures. 

6. S Hook Clasp

Known for its simple "S" shape, this clasp is designed to attach to one end of a piece of jewelry and slide onto a ring at the other end. S hooks can be basic, but if you want a clasp with extra dazzle you can definitely find S hooks that bring it.

Two warnings about S hooks: Triple check that the hook is tight enough to lock securely onto the ring without slipping back off, and make sure it won't catch on your clothing or anything else.

7. Fishhook Clasp

Fishhook clasps are a bit less common than many other options, but they're one of the most elegant glamorous closures. One end is a metal hook and the other is an oval box. The hook fastens into a hidden spot inside the box and sometimes even locks due to a simple spring mechanism.

This type of clasp can be tricky to do with one hand, so it's better for a necklace than a bracelet. Sometimes these clasps are extra fancy and even blinged out with diamonds, so they can definitely make a style statement.

8. Slide Lock Clasp

This clasp is designed for multi-strand necklaces and bracelets. Each side consists of a long tube with rings for attaching strands of chain, wire, thread or cord. One tube slides inside the other and locks in place for a supremely fancy look.

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8 Types of Jewelry Clasps and How to Use 'Em